7 emblematic jewels from the Bragança dynasty to visit at the Royal Treasury Museum

7 emblematic jewels from the Bragança dynasty to visit at the Royal Treasury Museum


Source: www.observador.pt on 06/10/2023

The last national crown, a tiara with stars and jewellery boxes are pieces from the Bragança dynasty on display at the Royal Treasury Museum. We revisited them on the way to the wedding of Infanta Maria Francisca.

Counting down to the wedding of Infanta Maria Francisca to Duarte de Sousa Araújo Martins on 07/Oct/2023, we've changed course and swapped the Palace of Mafra, in whose basilica the religious ceremony will take placeYou can visit the Ajuda Palace, home to the Royal Treasure Museum, in search of emblematic pieces that tell the story of the Bragança dynasty.

We already know that the bride will be wearing a tiara that belonged to Queen Dona Amélia and was a wedding present from her father-in-law, King Luís, in 1886. But the Bragança dynasty began in the 17th century with King João IV. Since then, Portuguese royalty has moved to Brazil, returned to Portugal and seen the end of the monarchy. At the Royal Treasury Museum, among the jewellery and other objects on display, episodes from Portugal's history are told and, with the help of Margarida Barros, from the museum's educational service, we've put together seven emblematic jewels from the Bragança dynasty that can be seen at the museum.

1 The last Portuguese crown

It weighs almost two and a half kilos of solid gold, but the historical weight is much greater. This is the last Portuguese crown and the only one that has survived to the present day. It was created for the acclamation of King João V in Rio de Janeiro in 1818, which in turn was the last acclamation ceremony in national history according to the ritual of the old regime. The crown was created especially for the acclamation of King João VI in Rio de Janeiro in 1818.

In 1646, King João IV crowned Our Lady of the Conception of Vila Viçosa as Queen of Portugal in gratitude for the protection granted during the Restoration of Portugal's Independence from Spain. Since then, no Portuguese sovereign has been crowned and, at the acclamation ceremony, the crown was placed on a cushion.

Royal Crown, in gold, silk, cotton, silver 2.402 gr, Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, 1817. António Gomes da Silva (1798-1842)


2 A crown of stars

The Star Diadem was commissioned by Queen Maria Pia, consort of King Luís and mother of King Carlos. The jewel was created in 1868, but was successively altered. In 1910, when the Republic was established, the piece had 25 stars, which have remained to this day. The stars are mounted on springs, which causes them to oscillate slightly as they move. In the Royal Treasury Museum, this tiara is on display next to a necklace that also has stars, in gold and diamonds, dates from 1865 and is signed by the same designer as the diadem.

The interest in astronomy in the 18th century led to stars and the crescent moon becoming inspirational motifs that also influenced jewellery. In the following century, stars became fashionable and iconic pieces such as the stars that Empress Sissi wore in her long hair and with which she was portrayed. The Austrian consort commissioned 27 diamond and pearl stars from the Vienna jewellery house Köchert and Pioté.


Diadem, in diamonds, gold and silver. Portugal, Lisbon, 1868, altered until 1908. Estevão de Souza (act. 1839-c. 1880)


3 A jewellery loop for bodices

This ribbon will be one of the most recognisable pieces of national treasure, both within and outside the country. As well as being a very expressive piece, it is also equally rich: it is an iconic piece of eighteenth-century jewellery that has survived the years and has the status of an international piece that features in books on the subject. It's important to explain that this lace is not a small brooch, but a bodice ornament, i.e. a larger jewel that was worn in the centre of the chest.

It's made up of diamonds and emeralds set in silver and gold-plated silver. The green stones that adorn this piece are of Colombian origin and two of them are classified as "gota de aceite", an expression used to classify a clarity characteristic that is associated with Colombian emeralds and superior quality emeralds. The largest emerald weighs approximately 48 carats and the largest diamond weighs approximately 24 carats. This jewel belonged to the Queen of Spain, Maria Bárbara de Bragança (1711-1758), daughter of King João V, who left it in her will to her niece, the Infanta Maria Ana (1736-1813), sister of Queen Maria I. The bow was made in Spain and dates from the 18th century, while the pendant tassel is Portuguese and was made in the mid-20th century.



Bustier trim, with emeralds, diamonds, silver and gold-plated silver. The hexagonal emerald weighs 47.91 carats and the rest 353.53 carats. Spain, 18th century (mid) and the tassel was made in Portugal between 1944-1951.



4 The box that impressed the Paris court

King José (1714-1777) commissioned this small snuff box from a French jeweller, but before it arrived in Portugal, the piece enchanted the French court. According to the Portuguese ambassador in Paris, António Saldanha, the snuff box was shown to the Palace of Versailles to be appreciated by the Marquise de Pompadour, the then mistress and counsellor of King Louis XV. The box impressed the court in Paris and would later impress the court in Lisbon.

Snuff is a type of powdered tobacco that is inhaled rather than smoked and the use of these boxes was common at the time. The piece was commissioned in 1755, after the earthquake that destroyed the national capital that year, and was a political gesture aimed at asserting the King of Portugal's financial power in the wake of the disaster. This snuff box was commissioned from Pierre André Jacqmin, Louis XV's jeweller, and was created in the Rococo style, decorated with plant motifs and 951 diamonds, which were supplied by King José I himself, as well as 240 emeralds and a large diamond weighing approximately 30 carats. The piece was considered a masterpiece of 18th century French jewellery.



Rapé box, with diamonds, emeralds, gold and silver, France, Paris, 1755-1756. Jean Ducrollay (1710-1787) and Louis Roucel († 1787) under the direction of Pierre André Jacqmin (1720-1773).



5 A badge that's valuable jewellery

This jewel is one of the most valuable pieces in the museumThe jewellery is made of gold and silver, as the director of the Ajuda National Palace explained to journalists at the unveiling. The jewel is made of gold and silver and contains 1,700 diamonds, 190 rubies and a sapphire. This insignia has its own display case in the museum and, in addition to its intense brilliance and elaborate aesthetics, it relates to a very important order, that of the Golden Fleece.

This jewellery insignia was commissioned by Prince Regent João, the future João VI (1767-1826) who, like his mother Queen Maria I, had a special taste for jewellery decorations with lots of diamonds. The King left the piece in his will to his son Miguel, but after the national civil war of 1832-1834, it was stored in a chest at the Bank of Lisbon (later the Bank of Portugal). It was bought by the Portuguese state from Miguel's heirs in 1943.


Habit of the Order of the Golden Fleece, in gold and silver with diamonds (two of which are pink) rubies and sapphire, Portugal, Lisbon, circa 1800. Creation attributed to Carlos Jose van Nes or José Luís da Silva

6 A safe from Paris to Rio de Janeiro

This jewellery box was commissioned by King João VI (1767-1826), Emperor of Brazil, for the wedding of his son Pedro and Leopoldina, which was to take place by proxy in Vienna on 13 May 1817. The gift was destined for the princes' quarters in the São Cristóvão Palace in Rio de Janeiro.

The piece was commissioned from Maison Odiot and the person who brokered the purchase was "Chevalier de Brito", minister plenipotentiary of the Portuguese court in Paris. The box itself is a real jewel, decorated with Greco-Roman motifs, similar to the style that Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France at the time, loved so much. The King's order actually consisted of four coffers. This is one of them and was inherited by Maria II, later to be used as a jewellery box by Maria Pia.


Jewellery box, in silver, silver gilt, silk, France, Paris, 1817. Jean-Baptiste Claude Odiot (1763-1850)

7 A sceptre for Dona Maria II

Queen Maria II gave an official reception in London in 1828 and received a very special gift. Sympathisers of the liberal cause who were in exile in Great Britain came together to present the Portuguese sovereign with a sceptre full of symbolism relating to the constitutional monarchy. The dragon, which has been the royal coat of arms since the 19th century and is still used today by the House of Bragança, has a shield with the five chevrons, on top of which is the Constitutional Charter and, on top of that, the royal crown, the symbol of royalty.





Gold sceptre, Great Britain, London, (1828-1829). William Clutton & David Cox for Storr & Mortimer (1822-1839)


07/Oct/2023 - Marriage of the Infanta Maria Francisca of Bragança

Image/Source: www.caras.pt


The daughter of the Dukes of Bragança, the Infanta Maria Francisca de Bragança married the lawyer Duarte de Sousa Araújo Martins on the 7th in Mafra. The bride was the picture of happiness on this day when she was smiling as she arrived at the basilica, emotional during the ceremony, talkative during the ceremony, and a very happy person. "cocktail" and a lot of fun at the party that took place in the evening, already in Sintra, at his parents' house.



The sophisticated and creative wedding decorations of the Infanta Maria Francisca of Bragança

Missian Jewellery: "Thinking of You"